Sony is forcing online gamers to waive rights to filing class-action lawsuits. The move came after suits sparked by several instances of hacking in the past year, one of which made data vulnerable for 75 million users. As a result, customers filed a class-action lawsuit for the loss of their personal information, a week-long period in which they were not notified of this rupture in security, and 40 days without access to the gaming network.
The new terms of service, subtly revised last week, make users agree to take their problems to an arbitrator. They can elect to preserve class-action rights within 30 days of signing the agreement; however this must be done by sending a letter in the mail. This stipulation reveals that Sony is hoping clients will not have the foresight or desire to go to such “extreme” measures as sending snail mail or filing a claim individually.
The new terms make sense for Sony, who lost over $170 million this year from security breaches, as the tech company joins the ranks to block headachy class-action suits. This sort of loop-hole seems too convenient for giant corporations to be legal, but Supreme Court justices made this possible in April with AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion.
In light of this spreading trend we would like to know: how often do you read the fine print? Would it deter you from using such ubiquitous 21st Century tools such as iTunes and Gmail, or even something as important as buying a new car?